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'Home' and ethnicity in the context of war : hesitant diasporas of Bosnian refugees

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Huttunen, Laura

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Abstract This article examines the meanings of 'home' in the lives of Bosnian refugees living in diaspora after the extremely destructive war in Bosnia. Through careful reading of life stories written by two refugees living in Finland, it highlights the dynamic process of negotiating belonging in diasporic situations. It pays special attention to the ambivalent role of ethnicity in the memories of these writers and their understanding of 'good homes'. The reading does not support the popular 'ancient hatred' explanation of war in Bosnia; the violence of the war does not grow organically from the lives of ethnically mixed communities. Rather, it is brought to the communities by politicized discourses interpreting the language of ethnicity in extremely violent and exclusive ways. This article's orientation is towards ‘hesitant diasporas’ because of refugees' hesitation between their country of origin and their new country of settlement as their 'homes' in a changing situation.
Keywords diaspora; migration
Classification Migration, Sociology of Migration; Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnosociology
Free Keywords Bosnia; ethnicity; home; life stories; transnationalism; violence; war
Document language English
Publication Year 2005
Page/Pages p. 177-195
Journal European Journal of Cultural Studies, 8 (2005) 2
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)